Pro Mujer Celebrates its First Anniversary in Guatemala!

10 July, 2023

Blog, Press

On May 9, Denia del Valle, Pro Mujer Representative in Guatemala, hosted an event celebrating Pro Mujer’s first year of operations in the country. During the event, she shared the impact of Pro Mujer’s activities in Guatemala in 2022 and new projects for 2023.

In 2022, Pro Mujer provided more than 600 health services, impacted the lives of more than 1,000 women through our financial services, and provided more than 700 women with access to skilling and capacity-building opportunities through the Emprende Pro Mujer program.

  • 98% of women reported that the program helped them improve their financial management skills.
  • 10% reported that the program helped them develop skills to help them save money.
  • 33% improved their incomes.

In addition to offering Guatemalan women access to the online Emprende Pro Mujer program, in 2023, Pro Mujer developed a hybrid program that combines online and in-person training.

It is estimated that 1 out of every 5 women in Guatemala receives no schooling (INE Census). As part of four efforts to address this reality and democratize access to skills development, in 2023, we joined forces with Target to make materials from the hybrid model available in two of Guatemala’s most widely spoken Mayan languages (Quiché and Kaqchikel). This partnership is evidence of Pro Mujer’s commitment to working in favor of women facing the most significant challenges, taking into account some alarming data:

  • Only 11% of Indigenous women are enrolled in social security (ICEFI).
  • Only 36% of Indigenous women participate in the labor market (ICEFI).
  • Up to 40% of the Indigenous population of Guatemala lives in extreme poverty (INE).

Indigenous languages in the Americas play a fundamental role in our cultural imaginations, understanding nature not as a source of productivity and exploitation but as a living organism–a critical challenge during a time when we must urgently implement practices that care for the planet–as well as ways of conceiving of time and subjectivity that are more closely connected to a direct relationship with nature. These issues are reflected in the projects of each Pro Mujer entrepreneur, which offer handcrafted products that offer a repository of traditional and sustainable knowledge and traditions.

Over 2023, Pro Mujer will also implement green finance policies and processes–including waste, water, and energy management–for the first time in our 33-year history. Having established ourselves as a leading organization in the country, we will also provide training for the International Organization for Migration and USAID on the care economy, decent employment, access to finance, and entrepreneurship training.

Regarding health services, in June 2023, Pro Mujer will launch its Community Health Workers (CHWs) program in Guatemala. In preparation for the launch, 30 CHWs received training in 2022, and an additional 30 will be trained in 2024. 

The Pro Mujer CHWs in Guatemala will offer various health screenings and refer high-risk patients to the public health system. In 2023, Pro Mujer Guatemala will also launch a breast cancer chatbot, joining the already available diabetes chatbot.

On top of these initiatives, Pro Mujer Guatemala will provide workshops on the care economy throughout 2023, and will continue to work with important partners, such as UPS and Google.org, to reach more women entrepreneurs. The IDB will also provide a US$ 2,000,000 grant to support Pro Mujer’s skilling, CHW, financial services, and environmental sustainability programs in the country. Pro Mujer is proud of everything we’ve accomplished in just a year in Guatemala, and we can’t wait to continue to make transformative changes in the years to come.

In her own words: Silvana, Artisan

My name is Silvana. I’m 47 years old, and I live in Guatemala. My business is called Home Craft. It’s an online store offering 100% handmade, personalized gifts. I offer two product lines, including one called “Home,” which includes towels, decorative pillows, and tablecloths.

I started my business 18 months ago. After being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I thought I would have to stop weaving. But I quickly realized that making these pieces was good for my hands, and it was also calming and gave me a chance to explore my creativity.  

I heard about the Emprende Pro Mujer courses on social media, and I applied for and was given a scholarship. The courses are great, and the program has been beneficial. I learned a lot. I knew a little about how to work with Facebook and Instagram, but I learned new skills and platforms that I could use to support my business.  

I really like the content—the videos are short and easy to understand, focus on concrete tips, and can be watched repeatedly. I also like that the facilitators are super proactive and friendly. Getting the chance to meet other women entrepreneurs from all over Latin America has been an incredible experience. The skills and tools I learned have significantly impacted my business. Now I’m focused on defining my value proposition, the future of my business, and my target customer.  

I’m constantly inspiring myself as an entrepreneur. I’m resilient, and I believe that good things can come from bad situations. My arthritis diagnosis helped me know myself better, and I think of it as my inspiration.  

For all the women out there—don’t stop dreaming. Fight for your dreams. It takes a lot to have a business, and it’s definitely not easy. You have to persevere and be passionate about what you do.